The State of Intranet in Russia 2021: based on 120 companies survey

This article presents the results of the fifth study of the intranet and digital internal communications channels in Russia and the CIS. The survey was conducted in 120 companies in the second half of 2020 by Rivelty. This is a complete portrait of the Intranet and Digital Workplace state in Russia.

Why about intranet

The top 3 most popular internal communications tools according to the research results include intranet (97%), newsletters (92%), and mobile apps (82%). Compared to last year, the intranet and newsletters have switched places. We are pleased to see that intranet has become the most popular communication channel. At the same time, if we compare the intranet with other internal communications channels in terms of efficiency, it is also one of the most effective — the average score is 4 out of 5.

Intranet tasks

The basic task of the intranet — corporate news sharing — is in the first place for all five years of research. Intranet solves this task in 90% of companies.

In Russia, an intranet is mainly a tool for top-down communications from the company to employees. Only 30% use it for horizontal communications.

Compared to last year, the task of informing employees about the benefits via the intranet has significantly increased: 72% in 2020 vs 59% in 2019.

Business workflow automation also increased by 15% compared to 2019. Companies are avoiding paper documents and inconvenient processes as much as possible, the pandemic here worked as an additional trigger. By the end of 2020, 54% of companies digitalized their routine using the intranet.

For the past five years, corporate video sharing has grown twice: 67% in 2020 versus 34% in 2016. To compete in an overloaded information world, companies create more video content or even corporate series to increase awareness among employees. The example of creating the “Netflix” style corporate series is well described in the article “Netflix” style for future internal communications.

Intranet usage

According to the research, the share of companies where more than half of employees use the intranet every day is almost 40%. Over five years, the number of such companies increased by 15%.

20% of companies still do not have tools for collecting statistics and analyzing daily intranet traffic. To understand the demand for an intranet in a company, it is important to track at least the following indicators: DAU (daily attendance), MAU (monthly attendance), viewing depth, and session duration.

What makes companies with high intranet usage stand out? 59% of such companies have an intranet or DW leader, 42% have personalized intranets and such projects have received professional awards in 36% of cases.

In previous years, high intranet traffic was more common in companies with up to 10,000 employees. It was easier to achieve high rates in smaller companies. But in 2020 the situation changed: 20% of companies with a size of more than 10,000 reported high intranet usage. This can be explained by the fact that 25% of companies consider the intranet as a key communication channel and a tool for collaboration.

Intranet pain points

  1. Not available on mobile devices.
  2. The intranet is outdated.
  3. Lack of business tools.
  4. Bad UX.
  5. Poor navigation.

The problem of complex authentication has become more critical, which is associated with remote tools and access via VPN.

The problem of outdated intranets remains approximately at the same level as last year. The average life of an intranet is 3–5 years, after that, a high-quality renovation is required. There will always be those who have the intranet already updated, who is in the process of renovation, and those who are planning to do it.

The situation with mobile access has improved by almost 20% compared to last year. In 2020, only 39% of companies didn’t have intranet on mobile devices, compared to 56% in 2019.

Professional Intranet Awards

22% of companies have received professional intranet awards. Almost 10% won the Intranet and Digital Workplace Awards, for example, M.Video-Eldorado, Avito, NLMK, Domodedovo Airport.

7% of companies have been awarded the Russian Intranet Awards. For example, RUSAL, Gazprom Neft, M.Video-Eldorado, TSUM.

What makes the best intranets different? 75% have a full-time intranet and DW leader. Team size is over 5 FTE. The average budget for intranet and DW in 2020 was more than 10 mln RUB (€110,000). Half of the companies allow employees to create content and have content personalization. 100% measure the efficiency. Most often it is IT, retail, and finance.

DW leader and the team

At the end of 2020, 70% of companies have an intranet and DW leader and content manager, 50% have a developer. In five years, designers are hired twice as often: 42% in 2020 versus 21% in 2016.

The most in-demand intranet and DW leadership skills in 2020 are product and project management, communication skills with IT and Information Security, intranet product expertise, and strategic thinking. Compared to 2019, twice fewer respondents believe that an intranet leader should be able to write for an intranet. A year ago, the most skilled intranet leader was either product owner or internal communicator, but now it becomes clear that this is a “pure” product owner, so IT background and management skills are more important than writing well.

The more detailed situation on the market of intranet specialists, requirements for intranet and DW leader, his income, and motivation you can find in the article “Digital Workplace Leader portrait: skills, motivation, and salary”.

IT solutions

Most popular IT and Intranet products based on 2020 survey:

  1. Microsoft products — 71% (different versions of MS SharePoint — 50%, Office365 — 21%);
  2. Bitrix24 — 32%;
  3. Self-developed platforms — 27%. This is our key difference from international experience: the number of highly customized solutions and independent projects created in Russia is twice more.

28% use Confluence, 23% — MS Teams, 17% — Slack, only 5% use Facebook Workplace.

Mobile intranet

43% of companies already have a mobile intranet, about 30% are planning to launch it, and 10% have it banned by Information Security. Compared to 2019, the share of companies with a mobile intranet increased by 14% — this is the largest increase per year in all five years of our surveys. Many companies where mobile intranet access hasn’t been approved by the Information Security department were able to resolve this issue very quickly during the pandemic.

The most easy-to-access services on the mobile intranet are news, employee profiles, user directories, search function, and benefits. Availability of personal tools is 40% higher, and posting information about benefits increased by 20%.

Intranet costs

How much does an intranet cost? This is the question we hear often. We cover intranet costs in detail in our reports for the intranet leaders, vendors, and integrators. For each category, its aspects are important, so we comment on them individually.

For a general picture, let’s give the approximate cost:

— more than 50 million RUB (€550,000): intranet relaunch projects at oil and gas companies, state banks, retail, large-scale manufacturers, 40,000+ employees;

— 20–50 million RUB (€220,000–€550,000): intranet renovation projects at manufacturing, telecom, banks, retail, 10,000+ employees;

— 5–30 million RUB (€55,000–€330,000): development of new services, complex integrations, update of existing services, 10,000+ employees companies or a project to renovate an intranet in a company with up to 10,000 employees, IT, telecom, retail, transport, construction, production;

— 1–5 million RUB (€10,000–€55,000): annual development and maintenance of the intranet at the 10,000+ employees size companies or concept development, creation of an essential intranet in the companies up to 3,000 employees;

— up to 1 million RUB(€10,000): minor improvements in terms of UX, audience research, benchmarking, design of individual pages and tools, content audit, promotional videos, or intranet brand book.

Intranet development priorities

For the fifth year, the key priority of intranet development remains the improvement of usability and design. This is easy to explain: IT products are becoming more user-friendly, users are getting less patient. This applies to the products that we use in everyday life (mobile apps for ordering a taxi, food, watching a movie), and products within the company, for employees.

Compared to last year, the priority of workflow automation has grown by 22% and got to second place. 66% of companies plan to do that in the next year.

The development of new services is in third place. Relevant for 45% of companies.

Only 8% of companies plan to update the version of the intranet platform (for example, from MS Sharepoint 2016 to MS SharePoint 2019), although in 2019 almost 30% thought about updating. The number of companies that will change the intranet platform (for example, from Bitrix24 to MS Sharepoint or vice versa) is even smaller — only 5%, although a year ago the number was also about 30%.

Digital Employee Experience

The concept of DEX offered by James Robertson — the global leader in the intranet and digital workplace community — gained popularity among companies worldwide.

“Digital employee experience (#DEX) is the sum total of the digital interactions within the work environment.”

40% of respondents in Russia plan to develop a digital employee experience (DEX), and this priority has risen from the middle of the list to the top 4 in just a year. Surely pandemic was also the trigger here.

According to the Digital Employee Experience survey from StepTwo and State of Intranet in Russia 2021 survey, 70% of companies consider the Digital Employee Experience important. Internal communications are the key driver, both in Russia and in the world. Intranet teams are very active too. Intranet leaders have everything to develop necessary tools for employees and promote DEX in a company.

Contractors

47% of companies hire contractors for intranet development. 60% use only one contractor, buying all services as a turnkey. Unfortunately, clients often remain dissatisfied in such cases due to the contractor’s lack of all the necessary competencies. For example, 15% believe that their contractors are doing “so-so”, 41% believe that they are doing well, but there is room for improvement.

About 40% hire two or more contractors: for example, at the stage of analysis, prototyping, product selection, and other pre-project tasks — consulting experts in developing the intranet concept, at the development and implementation stage — IT integrators with the necessary experience in implementing the chosen IT solution, at the stage of promotion and involvement — agencies that specialize in promoting. In such cases, the level of satisfaction is higher. 32% consider their contractors to be professionals in their field.

Intranet knowledge

Key sources of knowledge about the intranet and digital IC channels for people from Russia and the CIS:

  1. The Rivelty.Abatjour media (68% — 14% growth compared to 2019);
  2. “Intranet.Abatjour” community on Facebook (62% — 24% growth compared to 2019). This is a closed group for almost 400 intranet specialists and internal communicators from Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan;
  3. Russian intranet conferences (57% — 12% less than in 2019). We recommend our Rivelty.Conf.

5 key findings from the survey

  1. The value of the intranet for top managers and users has become more transparent “thanks to” the pandemic.
  2. The success of the intranet is driven by the leader and supported by quality governance.
  3. Mobile intranet is now “new normal”.
  4. UX and quality content are always relevant.
  5. Digital Employee Experience (DEX) is the main trend of this year!

More information about the development of Intranet, Digital Workplace, and Digital Internal communications channels in Russia you can find in our survey reports.

Participants

We surveyed 120 companies from 20 industries: retail, IT, telecommunications, manufacturing, finance, transport, media, oil and gas, and metallurgy. Sizes of companies varied from small ones with up to 1000 employees, medium — from 1000 to 5,000, large ones from 10,000 employees, and giants with more than 100 thousand employees. Most of the respondents are internal communications specialists (60%), fewer — HR (19%), IT (11%), as well as other divisions — marketing, corporate communications, strategists, business.

If you would like to get a copy of a survey full report, please email us at intranet@rivelty.ru.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and follow Rivelty.Intranet to learn more about Intranet and Digital Workplace in Russia.